Covenant roundup

Rounding up the news and essays on the Anglican Covenant. Next week General Synod will vote on the Covenant. If it does not pass that is the end of it. If it does pass it will go to the dioceses of the Church of England and back to General Synod. General Convention, meeting in Indianapolis, IN USA, will take up the Covenant in 2012.

Dioceses are studying it currently. Mexico has already passed it in their national meeting. The Global South member provinces FoCA have said they will not sign and are pushing for the Jerusalem Declaration.

Simon Sarmiento is the latest to write in The Guardian’s (UK) series on the Covenant. Sarmiento writes that the Covenant is a waste of time and money and won’t “save” the Communion:

Gregory Cameron, Andrew Goddard, and Graham Kings have all criticised attacks on the covenant as misinformation and scaremongering. But strikingly none of them has explained what benefit to the Church of England comes from endorsing the covenant. There’s a very simple reason for this: none exists.

Everyone agrees that the Anglican Communion is in a bit of a mess. Having a covenant will not reduce the mess one jot. And the IC/MC campaign has lucidly explained exactly why it will probably make it worse.

Already, without any covenant, the Anglican Consultative Council’s secretary-general has excluded participants from the USA and Chile from membership in international theological dialogues. The latter was sanctioned for breaking the other Windsor-recommended moratorium: on conservative bishops invading North America, though so far Nigeria and Uganda have escaped.

It’s clear to opponents that many English bishops and other synod members dislike the covenant, but still support it solely because they don’t want to be seen to oppose Williams. Some have whispered that opposition may harm their promotion chances (and now synod voting is electronic, rollcalls are published for all to see). I don’t recall previous archbishops generating this kind of blind followership.

Yes, there are problems in the Anglican Communion. No, the covenant is not the solution. The only way forward is to establish the principle that these are issues on which it is OK for Anglicans to disagree with each other. And carry on talking.

Andrew Goddard, writing at Fulcrum offers a six point defense of the Covenant. Responses to his essay are here

The Revd. Canon Alan T. Perry, a canons expert, from the Anglican Church of Canada, Montreal, Quebec writes on the canonical implications of the Covenant in Does the Anglican Covenant really mean what it says? He clearly states where the problems can arise, the implications for the future, and the lack of foresight in developing or signing the document.

It is not clear yet what amendments to current legislation, or what new legislation might be required to give effect to the Covenant should any given Province choose to adopt it. The Anglican Church of Canada is in the process of studying just that question. It is also looking at what, if any, civil effects might arise from the Covenant. In the haste to design and implement a Covenant, these important questions have been ignored to date.

So, in summary, the Covenant and its supporters say it doesn’t change anything in the constitution of canons of any Province. But its adoption would in fact add to the constitutional and canonical framework that governs a Province, and its full implementation might require further amendments to existing ecclesiastical legislation.

Ms. Susan Gage of Talahassee, FL has a contest for name the Covenant at her blog Wake Up and LIVE.

Tobias Haller at In a Godward Direction says:

Let me put it simply: We can’t even agree on what the Covenant means; so why should we imagine the Covenant will help us come to agreement on anything else


And Mr. CatOLick thinks the Royal Engagement is a plot to take our minds off discussing the Covenant. See below:

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